Udderly amazing - cow defies the odd to give birth to triplets

A set of triplets have been born to a Norfolk dairy cow at estimated odds of 700,000 to 1... and it

A set of triplets have been born to a Norfolk dairy cow at estimated odds of 700,000 to 1... and it is the second time it has happened at the farm this year at Wheatacre.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

At odds of 700,000 to one, the arrival of calf triplets on a farm on the Norfolk-Suffolk border was extraordinary enough.

A set of triplets have been born to a Norfolk dairy cow at estimated odds of 700,000 to 1... and it

A set of triplets have been born to a Norfolk dairy cow at estimated odds of 700,000 to 1... and it is the second time it has happened at the farm this year at Wheatacre.Andrea Vale and Lindsay Burroughs with the three calves.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

But for it to be followed, just a short while later, by another set has truly set the statisticians calculating.

The first set of British Friesians - one female and two males - were born on Oaklands Farm, in Aldeby, near Beccles, in September, with the second - two females and a male - arriving just this week.

While twins are not uncommon, the birth of triplets are extremely rare in cattle herds. Heifer rearer Andrea Vale, 24, who is responsible for the 250 cows in the farm's Oakalby Herd, said it had never happened there before.

'You don't often hear of it,' she added.

Of the earlier arrivals, the female was kept on the dairy farm, while the males were sold. The latest set are still being looked after on the farm.

Miss Vale said: 'Our assistant herdsman Liam Bann was working on Thursday morning and she (the cow) had already delivered two by herself. But she didn't want to mother them, she went off and laid down. Normally they start licking the calves but she didn't.'

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Realising something was unusual, Mr Bann inspected mother, only to find she would be giving birth to another calf.

The farm will keep the two female calves, which are both named after their mother Debbie and distinguished by a number on their ear tag, and will sell their brother on.

Has your farm welcomed an unusual arrival? Email polly.grice@archant.co.uk